Weekly Answers, Pt. 5

Check out the latest batch of weekly answers after the jump…

1) Do you think Howland would ever whip out a “twin-tower” lineup with Smith playing alognside Lane or Morgan? – AnonymousYes, Lane is more of a four than a five, and Smith and Morgan are strictly fives. Smith and Nelson is the intriguing combination.

2) When was the last time UCLA basketball faced replacing 4 (many would argue 5, effectively) starters before and, if so, how did they perform? What is it that great programs do to successfully “re-load”? – TennesseeBruinI can’t even remember a time when UCLA was in such turnover, and this really might be the first time in a very long time. Consider: the Bruins’ recent defections were really the first time early entries lumped together like that, particularly the one-and-two-and-dones. Great programs reload because they layer their prospects, and they get guys who are tweeners and are almost guaranteed to stay in college longer. Take, for example, Hakim Warrick, a slightly undersized but incredibly athletic power forward, who stayed all four years at Syracuse. Sure, ‘Melo got Boeheim the title. But Gerry Mcnamara and Warrick helped him there. UCLA doesn’t have any of those guys right now. Russell Westbrook would be a senior on this team. Imagine him in the lineup.
Teams successfully re-load by being lucky and having a coach who translates well from seniors to freshmen. A 22-year old senior is a lot different than a precocious 18-year-old. We’ll see if Howland can get it back next year.

3) Mr. Gold, why is the PAC 10 so down in basketball this year and in your opinion what is your early indicator for next season for the entire conference? Thank you in advance. – GilliganThe Pac-10 is down this year because of defections to the NCAA, a relative lack of talent in California the last few years and a lot of coaching turnover. There won’t be more than one new coach in the conference next year (Ernie Kent is on the hot seat), and I’d be surprised if there were any changes the year after, so I expect things to rise soon.

4) I looking forward the QB battles in the Spring. Do you see it as wide open or is it Prince getting most snaps and Brehaut and Crissman fighting for the rest? – gerry4UCLAI think it’s Prince’s job. I would be very surprised if either of the other competitors had a real shot.

5) Some people are think Nik Abele is the favorite to take over at LT. Watching him in practice, how good is he? – AnonymousTechnically, he’s very sound. His footwork improved with time, and I would not be surprised if he got the spot.

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  • BigDBruin

    I agree Jon the lineup with Smith(5),Nelson(4),Honeycutt(3),Lamb(2) would be a great starting 4. The lack of a true PG still concerns me, I hope JA can get his swagger back or Jones can be effective, if so this would give BH a lot of flexability. We could even go small with Nelson(5),Honeycutt(4),Lamb(3),Lee(2) and maybe even run and gun…LOL! I know BH would probably never agree…but we are starting to see him evolve who knows?

  • pzl35

    Ucla has successfully re-loaded each of the last few years. Ben Howland will have us back on top soon.

    Every team has down years. The last few national champs have had big back slides the year after. Look at the last few national champs.

    UNC won it all in 2005 and lost in the second round in 2006.

    Florida followed-up its back to back national championships by missing the tournament 2 years in a row.

    KU got bounced in the second round the year after winning it.

    UNC won it all last year, but is currently 3-9 in a very weak ACC and won’t make the tournament.

    The historically tough ACC currently has one team in the AP Top 25. There are always ups and downs. No team is at the very top every year.

  • Anonymous

    Brehaut wins the job outright in April

  • TennesseeBruin

    Good points. I don’t think there’s any coincidence between the ACC and Pac-10 (esp. UCLA) being down and the new ruling that players must be of age or experience to enter the draft. If the rule were not in place, we would probably be rife with “tweeners”, especially the kind of hard-nosed Howland types proving their worth and development for the draft. True, you have to be lucky right now to get these “tweeners” but I think, in the next few years, good coaches will learn to develop strategies to find these guys. Let’s hope, Howland learns how to do it.